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Building a culture of student philanthropy: A study of the Ivy-Plus institutions' philanthropy education initiatives

Dissertation
Author: Lori A. Hurvitz
Abstract:
  Colleges and universities rely on alumni involvement to enhance institutions and donations from alumni to subsidize the cost of operating the institution; however, institutions cannot expect that students automatically learn how to be good alumni simply by attending college. Students must be taught this skill in a similar fashion to how they learn the other desired outcomes for a college education. The student experience should lay the groundwork for later giving and provide instruction on the different capacities in which alumni can stay involved. Institutions are beginning to create and implement development initiatives and programs aimed at students as a source of sustainable revenue; however, little guidance exists on the best mechanisms to approach a student population about fundraising. This research explored how colleges and universities educate their entire student body about the importance of sustained philanthropic support for the institution and how institutions design the programs to pervade campus culture. Grounded in student development theory, the research shows that institutions can reinforce an environment where altruistic and prosocial behavior is developed through a program geared toward student satisfaction with their overall experience. A qualitative analysis of the institutions in the Ivy-Plus consortium provided a framework for institutions embarking on student philanthropy initiatives. The study found that student philanthropy education must be viewed as a long-term fundraising strategy which requires well-laid out plans with programs and initiatives congruent with unique campus cultures. The nine Ivy-Plus schools participating in the study presented a breadth of programs reflecting their campus cultures which engage current students as well as provide opportunities for students to interact with alumni. An in-depth case study of the University of Pennsylvania showed how collaborative relationships, strategic communications, and a thoughtful, student development oriented approach can move institutions further towards their goals. While the end results of student philanthropy initiatives will not be known for decades, the institutions in the study show early returns on their investments with increased senior class giving rates as programs became further developed.

TABLE OF CONTENTS Dedication iii Acknowledgements iv Abstract vii List of Tables xii CHAPTER I: Introduction 1 CHAPTER II: Literature Review and Theoretical Framework 8 Theoretical Framework: Why Do People Give? 10 Alumni Giving and Satisfaction 15 Application to Students 19 Socialization and Institutional Culture 23 Models for Change 32 Pervasive Change 36 Implications for Research 43 CHAPTER III: Methodology 44 Research Design 45 Phase One 47 Site Selection 47 Interview Protocol 48 Data Analysis 49 Validity and Controlling for Bias 50 Phase Two 52 Site Selection 52 Interview Protocol 52 Data Analysis 53 Validity and Controlling for Bias 54 Ethics 54 Limitations 55 ix

CHAPTER IV: Findings and Discussion 57 Understanding their Starting Place 58 Engaging Students in the Process 62 Student Leader Recruitment 62 Training and Education 65 Call Programs 69 Peer-to-Peer Solicitation 70 Alumni-Student Interaction 71 Free Food and Jobs 73 Online Resources and Networking 76 Passive Education 77 Campus Culture Influencing Programs 79 Donor Recognition 81 Competition in the Ivies 82 Challenge and Matching Gifts 85 Results of Initiatives 86 Addressing Barriers to Success 88 Resource Allocation 89 Human Resources 91 Program Support 93 Institutional Leadership 94 Faculty Involvement 97 Collaboration 98 Alumni Relations and Development 99 Student Affairs 102 Intentionality and Communications 106 Strategic Messaging 107 Consistent Messaging 108 Intentional Messages 109 x

CHAPTER V: Case Study: University of Pennsylvania 113 History 113 University of Pennsylvania 113 Penn Traditions 119 Distinctiveness 122 Broad Definition 123 Seamless Presentation 125 Student Affairs Involvement and Influence 127 Inclusive Community 128 The Whole Student 130 Relationships and Collaboration 133 Process-Oriented 135 Measuring Success 136 Capital Campaign 138 The Penn Quotient 140 Realism 141 CHAPTER VI: Conclusion and Recommendations 142 Recommendations for Future Research and Practice 146 Conclusion 149 Appendices 151 Appendix A: Introductory Email 151 Appendix B: Confirmation Email 152 Appendix C: Phase One Interview Protocol 153 Appendix D: Request for Documentation 154 Appendix E: Template for UPenn Participation Request 156 Appendix F: Follow Up Email for UPenn Participation 157 Appendix G: UPenn Confirmation Email 158 Appendix H: Phase Two: UPenn Interview Protocols 159 References 165 xi

List of Tables Table A: General Institutional Data 59 Table B: Historical Information on Institutions 61 Table C: NACUBO Market Value of Endowment Assets 67 Table D: Institutions' Online Career Networking Resources 77 Table E: Senior Class Giving Participation Rates 2000-2009 79 Table F: Sample Leadership Giving and Donor Recognition Programs 81 Table G: MIT Giving Rates 85 Table H: One and Five Year Post Graduation Giving Rates 87 Table I: 1924 Endowment Values 115 Table H: Class of 2009 Senior Gift Amounts 137 xn

CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION For of those to whom much is given, much is required. - John F. Kennedy A bachelor's degree will earn the average American twice as much in his/her lifetime as an individual with a high school diploma. In addition to the obvious economic benefits, college degree holders enjoy better job stability and options, healthier lifestyles, more informed decision-making, and an enhanced overall quality of life (Porter, 2002). However, along with the benefits, graduates of higher education also accrue a responsibility: contributing back. Colleges and universities rely on alumni involvement to enhance institutions and donations from alumni to subsidize the cost of operating the institution. Brittingham and Pezzullo (1990) assert that the discretionary income fundraising supplies institutions "can support vitality, innovation and excellence" (p. 14). The problem, however, is that institutions do not take into account that students do not learn how to be good alumni by simply attending and graduating from an institution and benefitting from alumni donations of the past (Johnson & Eckel, 1998). Students must be taught this skill in a similar fashion to how they learn the other desired outcomes for a college education. In order to rectify this situation, institutions need to consider students as "alumni-in-training" and begin to teach them the value of their education while they are a captive audience. This will allow institutions to better position themselves for later giving and alumni involvement. 1

American colleges and universities have been engaging in fundraising initiatives since 1641 when Harvard College sent clergymen to England to raise funds to educate Native Americans (Brittingham & Pezzullo, 1990; Worth, 2002). Harvard continued its trends of first among firsts with its first class gift campaign in 1881, raising over $113,750 for the institution (Cutlip, 1965). While class gift campaigns at Harvard and other institutions began to spread in the early twentieth century, the active and regular request for alumni support did not become routine until after World War I (Gasman & Drezner, 2007). As institutions grew rapidly in size with the influx of war veterans, Americans experienced a great deal of prosperity, and ultimately, a perfect storm brought philanthropic support of higher education to the forefront. Fund raising became a much more professionalized endeavor rising in importance in institutional governance. At the same time, gift size increased and the breadth and depth of fundraising initiatives multiplied (Cutlip, 1965; Gasman & Drezner, 2007; Worth, 2002). Lyman L. Pierce, considered a pioneer fundraiser for higher education, took the opportunity of increased breadth to involve students in fund raising endeavors for the first time in 1922. In kicking off a campaign at Stanford, students were given a quota of raising $200,000 from their peers. The president of Stanford noted in his annual report: "The future growth of Stanford is assured when the student body of today has joined the alumni" (Cutlip, 1965, p. 257). After successfully involving students in a fundraising initiative in California, when Pierce was called to his own alma mater, the University of Minnesota, to lead a fundraising campaign, he challenged the students to raise one quarter of the campaign target. In the end, they raised over 30% of the total, more than 2

six times the amount raised by faculty pledges, and almost 70% of the amount pledge by all of the institution's alumni (Cutlip, 1965). Specifically treating students as "alumni-in-training" is a slightly more recent phenomenon. Student alumni associations began to grow in popularity in the 1970s (Council for Advancement and Support of Education, n.d.) and even more recently, institutions began to create and implement intentional development initiatives and programs aimed at students in an effort to educate students about the importance of alumni support as well as cultivating a source of sustainable revenue. Modeled after successful strategies utilized by the National Pre-Alumni Council of the United Negro College Fund and private women's colleges, as well as by religiously affiliated colleges, institutions are learning how to better target their messages to the specifics of what motivates specific alumni populations to give (Briechle, 2997; Drezner, 2008). By appealing to their sense of responsibility, preconceived ideas and teachings about philanthropy, loyalty to and bond with their institution, and the desire to help future students, research has found institutions better cultivating students for future giving (Briechle, 2997; Drezner, 2008; Friedmann, 2003). While no significant data exist showing characteristics of alumni donors while they were students that generally predict giving, the lack of proof should not imply that valuable lessons cannot be learned from what is already known about fundraising from alumni (Brittingham & Pezzullo, 1998). For instance, research shows that once a person establishes a pattern of giving, it is likely the pattern will continue and the gift amounts will increase (Lindahl & Winship, 1992; Monks, 2003). Research has also shown that 3

older alumni, those who likely have greater financial capacity, contribute more (Balz, 1987). If these patterns of giving have been established while students, as alumni age and financial capacity grows, it is possible that giving rates and amounts could increase. These findings reinforce the benefits of starting a cultivation process early to allow for room for growth and improvement in long-term fundraising strategies. Furthermore, research finds the most significant determining factors in alumni giving to be the graduate's satisfaction with his or her college experience; continuing involvement and participation with the college as alumni also showed a strong correlation (Baade & Sundberg, 1993; Baade & Sundberg, 1996; Gallo & Hubschman, 2003; Monks, 2003; Young & Fischer, 1996). Institutions need to bank on the idea that they can increase the probability of satisfaction by enhancing the overall experience through programmatic offerings which also promote future giving (Chickering, 1969; Gallo & Hubschman, 2003; Kuh, 1995; Pumerantz, 2004). Focusing philanthropy education programs on enhancing undergraduate education could work towards accomplishing several institutional goals simultaneously. While some research already exists on efforts institutions are making with student philanthropy education, most focus on specific programs like class giving campaigns or the advent of student alumni associations. The findings in studies of these programs have been no less then startling. Involvement in programs increased student's emotional attachment to the institution and satisfaction, both found to increase the likelihood of giving (Conley, 1999). Since students are not usually immediate donors, with the exception of senior gift drives, the student experience should lay the groundwork for later 4

giving and provide instruction on the different capacities in which alumni can stay involved. Student philanthropy education must be viewed as a long-term fundraising strategy which requires well-laid out plans with programs and initiatives congruent with unique campus cultures; however, little guidance exists on the best mechanisms to approach a student population about fundraising. The research at hand looked beyond programs that only engage a select group of students to educational initiatives which are offered to a student body at large both proactively and possibly even passively through messaging. The research explored how colleges and universities educate their entire student body about the importance of sustained philanthropic support for the institution and how the changes incorporating the philosophies into the environment influence the campus culture as they became instituted. The goal was to provide a framework for institutions embarking on student philanthropy initiatives to learn from a set of institutions already engaging in the practices. I used a qualitative methodology to examine: How do selected Ivy-Plus institutions develop and implement student philanthropy education programs and best position them to pervade campus culture? This research required a qualitative analysis because it was an opportunity to learn what institutions are doing to promote philanthropy education by asking broad, open- ended questions. The variety of programs and their goals established what the observable, measureable data could constitute for a future quantitative study (Creswell, 2008). While a quantitative study may have provided metrics and evaluative tools for institutions to judge the benefits of instituting programs on a campus, examining the 5

breadth and depth of programmatic possibilities on a number of campuses provided a more useful framework for practitioners. The institutions chosen for study are the members of the Ivy-Plus consortium: seven of the eight Ivy League institutions, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University and Yale University and two institutions commonly associated with the Ivy- Plus, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University. While these colleges and universities represent only a small fraction of institutional types, there are several reasons why they were specifically chosen for study. Baade and Sundberg (1993; 1996) determined that the higher the public regard for the institution, the more likely alumni are to donate. These institutions are unarguably held in high regard around the world and therefore, in some ways, alumni should already be predicated towards giving. Student philanthropy education initiatives would therefore show an influence on students and alumni above and beyond the traditional giving and participation rates. Due to their established campus cultures, these particular institutions also provided an overview of the reasons behind whether or not an institution chose to incorporate student philanthropy into their culture, where they have been successful and unsuccessful, and valuable lessons learned about process. The reasons why these institutions chose certain initiatives over others also provides valuable information and guidance because arguments could be made on both sides as to whether these institutions have the most to gain or lose from new fundraising initiatives. This is precisely what made them so interesting for study. Some may question that since they have stable fundraising programs will innovative 6

student philanthropy initiatives really have an impact on their goals? Others may ask that since their fundraising methods are already tried and true; why fix something that is not broken? The answer is both yes and no to each of the questions. The reasons one of these institutions chose to incorporate philanthropy education into their undergraduate experience may be just as significant as why another one chose not to do so. These concepts further lent themselves to the depth and breadth of programs and the underlying rationality of the choices the institutions make. These institutions each have unique campus cultures and their desire to shift the culture or enhance it provided valuable new insight into the Ivies. 7

CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK College and university presidents estimate they spend 20 to 35 percent of their time in fundraising initiatives. As institutions struggle to meet diversifying financial needs, presidents feel constant pressure to identify and develop new streams of revenue to keep up with the expanding costs of higher education (Alexander, 2007). Student philanthropy education is one such stream of potential revenue growing in popularity, yet under-researched. Institutions create and implement development initiatives and programs aimed at students as a new source of sustainable revenue; however, little guidance exists on the best mechanisms to approach a student population at large about fundraising that will deeply affect a campus. While simply taking what we know about alumni philanthropy and applying it to students seems a rational approach on the surface, it does not take into account either the subtle or obvious differences between alumni and students or their frames of reference. The literature provides an overview of what we can learn from the realm of alumni giving and translates it into an approach applicable to students while also examining how college and university cultures adapt to include philanthropy within the institution positioned as a central consideration, designed to pervade the culture of an institution. In 2007, 27.8% of America's college and university donations came from alumni, the second highest component of voluntary giving to institutions of higher education after foundation support (Council for Aid to Education, 2008). Given the importance of 8

alumni support, it is essential to understand the relationship alumni have with their institution in order to learn how to maintain and improve that relationship in the future. Ostrander and Schervish (1990) define philanthropy as a social relationship. Donors often rely on the institution to which they give in order to define the social meaning of their existence while institutions, at least in part, rely on donors for their material existence as well as their social existence in a larger sense. It is very common for people, particularly recent graduates, to reveal their collegiate affiliations as identity signifiers and a reiteration of their social relationship. Dovidio et al (2006) calls this role identity and explains how a particular role in one's life becomes part of their overall identity. However, it is the quality of the social relationship between the alumnus/a and the institution that must be mutually beneficial for both parties in order to reap the rewards of such relationship. Ostrander and Schervish (1990) consider the quality of the relationship by examining the interaction between alumni and their alma maters taking into account involvement as well as contact and communication between the alumni donor and the institution. The quality of the social relationship must be constantly reevaluated against other pressing social concerns as well. The Council for Aid to Education (CAE) reports that between 2003 and 2008, there was an overall 18.5% increase in alumni donations to institutions of higher education; however, as economic times change, giving rates are affected. There was a 1.5% decrease in 2006 during an economic slowdown and even more significantly, in 2009 when the US economy faced the worst recession since the Depression, contributions declined 11.9%, the largest single year drop since CAE began 9

its national data collection in 1969 (Council for Aid to Education, 2008; Council for Aid to Education, 2010). Given the current economic situation in the United States, institutions must do everything within their power to keep relationships between the institution and their alumni strong and sustained. Ostrander and Schervish (1990) deduce it is the responsibility of each party, alumni and institutions, to maintain interaction with each other in order to keep the relationship at its strongest form. In order to build and sustain such a strong relationship, it is essential to understand what generally motivates people to give and the specific determining factors that influence whether or not alumni choose to donate. Theoretical Framework: Why Do People Give? History, religion, biology, economics, psychology, and even folklore each offer unique perspectives of why people choose to donate their time and financial resources to a cause (Gaudiani, 2005). For this particular research, a perspective grounded in social psychology offers information relevant to one's self as well as their environment, in this case, their institution, in making the choice whether or not to give. Piaget's cognitive development theory says that as children age and develop socially, their ability to empathize with others expands. In other words, they learn to see a situation from another's perspective, and begin to internalize other's behaviors and the causes of their own (Dovidio et al., 2006). A person's behavior and action upon their empathetic notions is called prosocial behavior. While several different definitions of prosocial behavior and related definitions of altruism exist within the social psychology 10

context, Batson find that it is not the prosocial act or behavior itself, but the motivations behind the act which dictate whether a person is acting egotistically - acting in their own best interests - or altruistic - their primary motive to improve someone else's situation (Dovidio et al. 2006). Staub's (1984) research attributes a significant amount of attention of motivation of behaviors to the role of the environment in enacting those motivations. As people become acculturated into an environment, the context for where social behavior will be established develops (Dovidio et al, 2006). As students become socialized into an institution's culture, they will take on a role identity of their institutional environment and their personal goals will begin to interact with the overall goals of their environment. Staub (1984) finds that ultimately, "the strength of an activated personal goal must be a joint function of the importance of the personal goal to the individual and the intensity of the activating potential of the environment for that goal" (p. 35). While individuals certainly develop at different paces, prior research shows that when the average traditional college-aged student matriculates at an institution, their social cognition is primed for continued development, thus their environment, similar to their childhood and upbringing, will play a significant role in their long-term social growth (Drezner, 2008; Friedmann, 2003). It is possible to foster levels of altruism by creating the right set of conditions for prosocial behavior to flourish (Dovidio et al, 2006). Mulugetta, Nash, and Murphy (1999) built a model of environmental influence for college students based on Alexander Astin's (1993) model of Input-Environment- Output (IEO). Astin's developmental model for students follows the principles that: (1) 11

students enter college with a set of characteristics, "inputs"; (2) that their college experiences and environment including policies and practices of their institutions affect their development, "environment"; and (3) they depart the institution with reformulated characteristics, "outputs." Mulugetta, Nash, and Murphy add an environmental module of "Institutional Commitment" into Astin's framework. Their argument is that institutions can alter student outcomes by "creating and reinforcing particular environmental circumstances" (Mulugetta et al., 1999, p. 63). Their research differentiated between the learning outcomes students acquired on their own versus those that were "largely created and reinforced by the institution" (Mulugetta et al., 1999, p. 63). Their model, I-C-E-O, was tested through the Cornell Traditions Program and offered "striking" results. The idea of creating an environment for people to learn prosocial behavior must also take into account that individuals are able to choose what their exposure entails. Based on Weidman's theory of anticipatory socialization, students are able to make choices about which activities they want to get involved with before entering, when enrolling, and again, after college (Trice & Beyer, 1993). The students' choices may have a direct correlation with their preparation to achieve their overall goals. Anticipatory socialization is acquiring the values and norms for groups with which they are likely to become engaged because they believe it will have longer term benefits for them either academically or socially (Weidman, 1985). While Weidman's research is most applicable to career choice, it also can be applied to choice in alumni involvement. 12

Understanding that students have choices in their exposure to prosocial behavior, it is vital to expand their perception of anticipatory socialization to include not only their individual goals and benefits of participation, but also the goals of and benefits to the larger organization. Students must be taught that the value of degree will be higher if all alumni of an institution band their talents and resources to put an institution in the best light, in other words, create a common resource pool. With that will come an understanding that an individual cannot remove his or herself from the benefits of association to an institution, and if they choose not to participate, in this case to mean support an institution, they become what Dovidio et al refer to as "cheaters" of the system (Dovidio et al, 2006). Students and alumni likely undergo a cost rewards analysis and take an economic perspective in their choice whether to be a contributor or a cheater. To encourage continued participation, institutions must create an attraction for students to become initially involved and for alumni to continue to enhance social rewards. This can be accomplished through a sense of shared group membership, quality relationships, a feeling of helping people "in need," or simply learning about it (Ahmed, 2008; Dovidio et al, 2006). Ultimately, active decisions result from an initial decision to be committed to the overall goals (Stutzer, Goette, & Zehnder, 2007). The overall theories of commitment and cooperation suggested here predicate themselves on the idea that people will identify with others that are similar to themselves. It has already been established that students and alumni create a social identity with their alma mater. Once that identity is solidly aligned with the organization, they will also become concerned for the others with the same identification, similar to a family 13

Full document contains 190 pages
Abstract:   Colleges and universities rely on alumni involvement to enhance institutions and donations from alumni to subsidize the cost of operating the institution; however, institutions cannot expect that students automatically learn how to be good alumni simply by attending college. Students must be taught this skill in a similar fashion to how they learn the other desired outcomes for a college education. The student experience should lay the groundwork for later giving and provide instruction on the different capacities in which alumni can stay involved. Institutions are beginning to create and implement development initiatives and programs aimed at students as a source of sustainable revenue; however, little guidance exists on the best mechanisms to approach a student population about fundraising. This research explored how colleges and universities educate their entire student body about the importance of sustained philanthropic support for the institution and how institutions design the programs to pervade campus culture. Grounded in student development theory, the research shows that institutions can reinforce an environment where altruistic and prosocial behavior is developed through a program geared toward student satisfaction with their overall experience. A qualitative analysis of the institutions in the Ivy-Plus consortium provided a framework for institutions embarking on student philanthropy initiatives. The study found that student philanthropy education must be viewed as a long-term fundraising strategy which requires well-laid out plans with programs and initiatives congruent with unique campus cultures. The nine Ivy-Plus schools participating in the study presented a breadth of programs reflecting their campus cultures which engage current students as well as provide opportunities for students to interact with alumni. An in-depth case study of the University of Pennsylvania showed how collaborative relationships, strategic communications, and a thoughtful, student development oriented approach can move institutions further towards their goals. While the end results of student philanthropy initiatives will not be known for decades, the institutions in the study show early returns on their investments with increased senior class giving rates as programs became further developed.